Robson Sharuko, Harare Bureau
A SHADOWY operation, in which a daring Zifa creditor masqueraded as a police officer to try and intimidate a bank manager to freeze all the association’s bank accounts, has been blown into the open after being captured on closed circuit television.
Zifa officials were yesterday working around the clock trying to resolve the issue, and gain access into some of their accounts, to finance urgent commitments, including but not limited to, the final phase of the Warriors’ preparations for the 2019 Afcon finals.
It has since emerged that some of the Zifa creditors have merged into some sort of a cartel which has been on a mission to rip off the association and have been demanding payments strictly in US dollars, even when their services, were initially not quoted using the greenback.
Payments which the association made, to try and settle some of the debts at the beginning of the year, including amounts which should have cleared some of the cases, have not stopped the mad rush for more payments to be done in US dollars to extinguish the same debts.
One of the creditors had $190 000 paid into her account, as settlement of the debt earlier this year when the rate was officially one to one, but has resurfaced to demand to be paid in US dollars the entire amount.
Questions are also now being asked as to how an average room at a Harare suburban lodge, where the Warriors used to have their camp four years ago, before Prophet Walter Magaya opened his Yadah Hotel in Waterfalls for them to use for their camp, was already going for US$200 a night.
Four years later, most of the five-star hotels in the capital have not yet reached a point where they demand about US$200 a day for an average room.
“When we came in, (they) was charging $28 per day per room yet before our time (they were) charging around $200 per room and getting deposits as high as $50,’’ a Zifa official told Harare Bureau last night.
“In short, the $50 was more than enough for the full bill so the debt was actually a creation. Never mind we paid (them) even that created debt but (they are) still fighting.
“We paid everything, including interests and bus storage fees (to Daisy Lodge). We did this through the Sheriff. She argues she wants US dollars, which was attached, yet the law then said the US dollar was 1 to 1 with the RTGS dollar back then.’’
Zifa board member, in charge of finance, Philemon Machana, said what was even more disturbing was that one of the creditors was caught on CCTV masquerading as a policeman trying to intimidate a bank manager to freeze all the Zifa accounts, including those which were not attached.
“We established that he has been going to the bank with the same police officer who is doing the Daisy Lodge case and he was caught on CCTV pretending to be a police officer,’’ said Machana.
“We are reporting that to the authorities because this is unacceptable.
“Right now, we have our boys in camp for the Afcon finals and they deserve to be supported in every way possible but, at the same time, we see there has been an increase in activity by these people to try and get as much money as they can from the inflows that are coming in.
“They have succeeded to get some of our unattached accounts to be frozen and that’s where we have the funds that we urgently need to service the costs of important things, including our preparations for the Afcon finals which have now moved to another level with the team arriving in Egypt.
“These are the kind of people who don’t even care that we have a team that is representing more than 15 million people, who want these boys to do well at these Afcon finals, and all that they want is to have money being directed into their pockets even when we have assured them that their issues will be dealt with.
“We have paid some of them but they keep fighting, saying they now want money in US dollars, even when we paid them what we owed them when the RTGS rate and the US dollar was officially 1 to 1.
“For instance, how does a photographer say he wants to be paid in US dollars, what was the foreign component of the work he did taking photographs, these are all things that now need to be put into the public domain, especially considering what has been happening underground, where there are serious attempts to try and destablise the Warriors performance in Egypt by these people.’’
Meanwhile, Zifa board member Chamu Chiwanza will appear before the association’s Ethics Committee today to answer charges he did not have the five years’ experience to fight for a post on the executive following a complaint lodged by Central Region, chairman Stanely Chipeta.